In the Know

ITK CONTEST: Choose a tune for your favorite (or least favorite) presidential candidate. The best items will appear in the column over the next several weeks. We have already thought of several examples, including Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) with “Are You Experienced?” by Jimi Hendrix; Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) with “100 Years” by McCain supporter John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting; and Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) with “Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett, for the aide who resigned after calling Clinton a “monster.” Send all items to Betsyr@thehill.com.
 

Obama is least loved among ‘Saturday Night Live’ crew

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) has not had much support from “Saturday Night Live.” Several of the show’s skits lampooned his being coddled by the press, which was noted by his opponent, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), during a debate. In this past weekend’s show, he was swearing up a storm.
 But the Illinois Democrat has found little love from the “SNL” cast and crew off the stage as well, according to a review of Federal Election Commission (FEC) records. Of the $44,000 donated to political campaigns this election cycle by the show’s actors, producers and writers, Obama has only received $1,000, thanks to Seth Meyers, head writer and “Weekend Update” co-anchor. By contrast, Clinton has taken in $7,600, from a trio of SNL producers.
But the former first lady is not the most supported of presidential candidates among the show’s employees. That honor falls to Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), who secured $10,200 in campaign contributions. He left the race after the Iowa caucuses.
Clinton also fell behind another candidate who would expect some backing from “SNL”: show alum Al Franken. He got $7,900 in donations for his Minnesota Senate run this year.
Lorne Michaels, “SNL’s” executive producer, has given $2,300 to Franken but has donated the same amount to Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the presumptive GOP presidential nominee. Michaels has given to McCain in the past but has mostly concentrated his giving on Democrats, according to FEC records.


Some lawmakers
blow off Lent

Not all Catholic lawmakers are following Lent this year. Reps. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) both say they are taking a break.
In Gutierrez’s case, he just wants a reprieve. “Usually I do give something up,” Gutierrez said, citing meat and chocolate. But this year, he said, “I eat meat on Friday.”
Kennedy, meanwhile, said he’s got it covered: “I live through Lent 365 days a year, not 40. I have a year and nine months of sobriety this March. As an alcoholic, I’ve given up alcohol.”


Reid gets graphic
with filibusters

At a recent pen-and-pad with reporters, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) made his point about the abundance of Republican filibusters painfully clear.
Reid said the squabble over whether the Republicans have filibustered 65 times or 72 times wouldn’t hold up in court, illustrating the point by making an analogy a staffer had shared with him earlier.
“It’s like you’re charged with aggravated assault, and the plaintiff says, ‘You stabbed me 72 times,’ and you reply, ‘I did not. I stabbed you 65 times,’ ” he said.
 

Boehner in a time warp

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) jokingly got discombobulated in a press conference last week, quizzically looking at reporters when trying to remember what time of the year it was.
“It’s the middle week of March? Second week of March? I don’t know; I’m losing track,” he said, while berating the House Democratic leadership for holding too few votes and not following through on five-day workweeks.
ITK called Boehner spokesman Steve Forde to see whether the minority leader’s confusion resulted from his recent back surgery.
It turns out it wasn’t the effect of any anesthesia lingering in Boehner’s body, Forde said. On the contrary, the boss’s back is healing very well.
The minority leader was just being funny, he said.
“It was sort of a half-hearted way of asking a question,” Forde said.


A river runs
through Rayburn

Staffers and members of Congress who park their cars in the Rayburn House Office Building garage received a flyer on their window last week alerting them to parking-space re-striping and re-numbering that will occur over the Easter district work period. The flyer also mentions a body of water that flows through the garage.
“As a reminder, Tiber Creek runs between the G1-East and G1-West Levels,” the flyer reads. “You must use an elevator on the East side (Lobbies 1, 4, 5 and 8) or West side (Lobbies, 2, 3, 6 and 7), respectively, to reach your parked car. You cannot walk between the two G1 areas.”
Anthony Wallis at the Office of the House Historian tells ITK that architects took the creek into consideration when House Speaker Sam Rayburn (D-Texas) asked them to explore the idea of constructing a third House office building. And historical documents suggest that the Rayburn garage is split into two wings because there was no getting around the creek, he says.
So do the mighty rushing waters of Tiber Creek pose a danger to the people who park their cars in the Rayburn garage?
“It’s not running water; it’s not even a pool of water,” says Eva Malecki, the spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol. “It’s just like groundwater down there, and it’s encased in concrete, and the building is built around it.”


Sen. Harkin skips elevators and opts for the stairs

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) slips in workouts wherever he can, including taking the stairs to his seventh-floor Hart Senate Office Building digs and going for morning walks with his wife, Ruth. On Wednesday he joined up with Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) and Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to hold a press conference introducing legislation that creates physical activity guidelines.
A surprise guest: former NFL running back Herschel Walker.
Harkin, a professed boxing fan, offered guidance to boxing champ Andre Berto, who was also there: “Andre has another match coming up June 14, and I’m going to show him a few moves.”
Berto replied, “I’m going to take him up on the offer.”


Barrasso aide gets
citizenship — and now, Americanized road rage

Greg Keeley, communications director for Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and president of the Senate Press Secretaries Association, was sworn in Wednesday morning at the D.C. federal courthouse. The Australian-born aide is now officially an American citizen.
But the ceremony didn’t come without a 10-question test. They included “What does the Fourth of July celebrate?” and “How many senators are there?”
Luckily for him, he says, “I nailed it. I got 10 out of 10.”
Midway through his interview with ITK, however, Keeley was on the road and momentarily lashed out when a driver in a BMW nearly sideswiped his car by the Library of Congress. Keeley, who regained composure quickly, said the man was talking on his cell phone while reading a map. (Damn American drivers!)
Getting American citizenship wasn’t easy — the process took three years.
Although Keeley’s American wife was unable to attend the swearing-in, his boss did, which gratified the aide. “It meant a lot to me that he took the time,” he said.
Back at the office, he asked Barrasso whether his thick Aussie accent was sounding more American of late. To which the senator wryly replied, “No.” Co-workers are still deciding whether they will continue to call him “Captain Kangaroo.”